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New Daniel Sada Short Story at Letras Libres – With Translation

Letras Libres has a new short story form the Mexican author Daniel Sada. Since not too much of his work is available in English (and as an exercise) I have translated the first paragraph, including some of his stylistic peculiarities. I like his style, although, it can be difficult to read in Spanish: not for the novice. It is a Borges-like story with its focus of books, something a little different than the last story that was in Letras Libres.

With something of a boast he arrived and put the book on the table: Here you have what you were looking so hard for: the phrase was said at full volume so that it resonated through the whole restaurant, he saw it immediately, a damaged edition, but complete, the only one in Spanish. Gastón, who was seated at the cabinet, put on his glasses and yes: That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana, by Carlo Emilio Gadda, the Italian Joyce that Italo Calvino cites en his Six Suggestions for the Coming Melenium, as an example of the supreme multiplicity. Like that the surprise. Even more when Atilio Mateo described to him the grueling pilgrimage that he made through a score of antiquarian bookstores. Dangerous streets at all hours, stinking, and scattered through the most horrible and snorting parts of the city. There were five days of searching. Many lazy people sent him north. Strange people well informed. Fantastic circumstances, or not? And speaking of Atilio Mateo: what a show of friendship! During five days he stopped going to his job as a bureaucrat so he could dedicate himself to a search for a book that is difficult to find. In the first four days he worked 12 hours (from 9 to 9) in his inquires, but it was the beginning of the fifth when he ran into a rarity named Bookland and found it finally and: You don’t have another copy? I could take two or three copies at one time, even if you have more I could buy more. But the book seller, raising his eyebrows, told him:  Sorry, I only have this one. In sum: too much time for the find. The Atilio Mateos advantage was that both his immediate boss and his boss’s boss let him be absent for what ever reason he fancied. If someone from higher up asked them about the fugitive both of them would say that he was doing an investigation, more or less. In addition, both admired the intellectual: an unappreciated genius and, since then, deserving of constant caresses. Yes. An enviable job for a profound being.

Con algo de jactancia llegó y puso el libro sobre la mesa: Aquí tienes lo que tanto andas buscando: la frase fue dicha a todo pulmón para que resonara a lo ancho del restaurante y, lo visto al instante, una edición estropeada, pero completa, la única en español. Gastón, que estaba sentado en el gabinete, se colocó sus gafas y sí: El zafarrancho aquel de via Merulana, de Carlo Emilio Gadda, el Joyce italiano que cita Italo Calvino en sus Seis propuestas para el próximo milenio, como ejemplo supremo de multiplicidad. Así la sorpresa. Más aún cuando Atilio Mateo le describió la extenuante peregrinación que hizo por una veintena de librerías de viejo. Calles peligrosas a toda hora, malolientes, y desperdigadas por los rumbos más horripilantes y bufos de la ciudad. Fueron cinco días de búsqueda. Mucha gente vaga le dio nortes. Gente fachosa bien informada. Circunstancia fantástica, ¿o no? Y hablando de Atilio Mateo: ¡qué muestra de amistad! Durante cinco días dejó de ir a su trabajo de burócrata para dedicarse a la busca de un libro difícil de hallar. En los primeros cuatro días empleó doce horas (de las nueve a las nueve) en su indagatoria, pero fue al comienzo del quinto cuando se topó con una rareza llamada Librolandia y halló por fin aquello y: ¿No habrá otro ejemplar?, de una vez me puedo llevar dos o tres, incluso si tiene más se los compro. Pero el librero, alzando las cejas, le dijo: Lo siento, sólo tengo éste. Total: demasiado tiempo para el hallazgo. La ventaja de Atilio Mateo era que tanto su jefe inmediato como su jefe superior le permitían ausentarse por la razón que se antoje. Si alguien de más arriba les preguntaba por el fugitivo, tanto uno como el otro decían que andaba haciendo una investigación, o más o menos. Además, ambos admiraban al intelectual: un genio desperdiciado y, desde luego, merecedor de constantes apapachos. Sí. Un trabajo envidiable para un ente profundo.

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2 comments on “New Daniel Sada Short Story at Letras Libres – With Translation

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